Landscape Contractor / Design Build Maintain

SEP 2018

LC/DBM provides landscape contractors with Educational, Imaginative and Practical information about their business, their employees, their machines and their projects.

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34 LC DBM For the first half of this year, single-family permits posted a gain of 6.3 percent over the same time last year according to the National Association of Home Builders. This in spite of the Northeast show - ing a 2.3 percent year-to-year decrease in this category in the first six months of 2018. Multifamily permits performed even better, finishing the first half of the year 7.1 percent higher than last year - with Southern and Western states growing 13.6 percent and 7.1 percent respectively. Housing starts increased 0.9 percent month-to-month in the most recent report, while the Wells Fargo Securities Econom - ics Group stated that builder confidence remains at a high pace. The single-family category mirrored overall housing starts with a 0.9 percent gain, and housing starts of projects with five or more units climbed 3.1 percent. Total construc - tion starts, though down month-to-month, are up 2 percent in the first seven months of this year compared to last year, determined Dodge Data & Analytics. For the 22nd consecutive month, costs associated with construction have gone up. The index put together by HIS Markit, and the Procurement Executives Group showed higher costs in August compared to July, but the pace of the increase was slower month-to-month. Materials/equipment grew 8.8 percent slower in August than July, and subcon - tractor labor costs rose at a 9.0 percent slower pace in that same period. The index forecasts that costs will continue to expand in the next six months. July's new home sales fell 1.7 percent - three of the last four months have seen decreases in this category - and existing sales did just a little better, coming in at -0.7 percent month-to-month. This puts existing home sales at a 1.5 percent drop year- to-year. In new home sales, the Northeast region dove 52.3 percent in July: blamed mostly on the constant downpours. But the West region actually gained 10.9 percent compared to June, and the Midwest region improved 9.9 percent. Following a small increase in July, the Consumer Confidence Index had a strong showing, up 5.5 points in August. The Wells Fargo Securi - ties Economics Group attributed this to a "tightening labor market, as the share of consumers stating jobs as plentiful was little changed, and those who see jobs as hard to get fell 2.1 points." Both the present expectations category and the future expectations category posted gains. Employees re - ported that they expect their incomes to improve in the next six months. Good Beginning to Year for Housing Permits Construction Starts Show Some Promise Continued Rise in Construction Costs The Slow Lane for Home Sales Consumers Still Optimistic

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